Time really seemed to stand still. At some point after shift change, Kasia returned as our night nurse – until we were transferred to a post partum room a few hours later. She helped me to my dreaded first trip to the bathroom, which was especially difficult since I hadn’t been out of that delivery room bed for 24 hours. We joked about their still being a considerable amount of amniotic fluid puddling under my bed. Gross. Seriously...so much fluid. Someone should have realized something was wrong.
The group from White Station came while we were still in the delivery room, broke all the rules since only 2 people were allowed in at a time and there were like ten of them! They surrounded me and my family and sang "Surround Us Lord." Somehow I was able to join in through the tears and lift my tired, shaky voice up to God. The whole story is HERE.
Dr. Meyers, the doctor in charge of the delivery team, came into the delivery room shortly afterwards to find out if we’d heard anything about Violet’s status and to process what had happened. He seemed especially concerned that the ultrasound team the night before had apparently noticed something unusual on the ultrasound but had failed to report it. Dr. Meyers admitted that if they’d had a head’s up that something might have been wrong with Violet they would have been better prepared or he would have been more insistent that I agree to medical interventions like Pitocin, c-section, etc. But I KNOW that any intervention would have made the perfect delivery Violet had impossible. Or it would have rendered me physically incapable of being who I needed to be for the next 28 hours. God was totally in control of the situation – even from the very beginning. Guiding the doctors, the information, the nurses – orchestrating every piece of this magnificent symphony of life and death.
We were moved to a post partum room at some point in the evening. The neonatal nurse told us we should be able to come to the NICU to see Violet soon, but to call first. Every time we called, we were told to call back – that she wasn’t ready yet. We should have been worried, but we were too tired, too confused, too excited, too everything to really be processing what was happening. Everything happened too quickly. I remember David and Missy talking about Violet’s stomach and how it looked very swollen. I didn’t see her stomach when they laid her on me because they covered her up with a blanket, but a swollen stomach made Missy’s comment about my tearing on her stomach during delivery make more sense.
The NICU finally cleared us for visiting our daughter around 10:30 pm. David and I rushed down as quickly as we could. I was still very much post partum, so the nurse found a wheelchair for us to use. David wheeled me down and we chatted on our way to meet our daughter. We had NO IDEA what was in store for us. We really thought she was going to be fine. A bit small, a bit early – we were thinking about how we’d need to spend a lot of time in the NICU. I was mentally arranging for childcare so I could be available to pump and nurse. We got to the NICU and once we figured out how to follow the scrub in procedure, we rushed into the dim room full of hustle and bustle and very sick babies. We found our sweet babe tucked away in a quieter corner of the back of the NICU. My heart burst and sank at the same time. There was my sweet baby, looking much more like a baby now that she had oxygen, but she was covered in tubes and wires connected to machines and whirrings and beepings. The nurse told us we could touch her hands and feet, but to try not to over stimulate her. If I had known the outcome at the time I would have covered my sweet Violet in kisses and love. But as it was just gently touched her hands and feet. Just enough to let her know we were there. I talked to her and her oxygen levels and heart rate would improve. She heard my voice and she knew I was her mother. The nurse explained that she was not breathing on her own, but was connected to something called an oscillator that forced the air into all the areas of her lungs. She had a tube coming out of underneath her armpit that was draining fluid from around her lungs. So much fluid. The neonatal team thought that once they got the fluid out then her lungs would be better able to function.
I talked to the nurse about breastfeeding and pumping and how to get milk to our Sweet Violet. She sent someone to our room with all the equipment I needed to start preserving those precious drops of mommy milk for my baby. I remember being so giddy about it and the nurses being so encouraging. The first few drops were so minute, but they were carefully placed into a bottle, labeled with a special barcode and sent to the NICU freezer. The nurses assured me they would swab the droplets into Violet’s mouth as soon as the tubes came out. Even now I wonder what became of those precious drops. I only pumped twice before I realized that pumping was not going to be necessary for my baby. She wasn’t ever going to need that milk.
David and I left Violet to go get some rest. We’d both been up for nearly 36 hours and we were tired. Oh, so many “if I’d knowns…” If I had known, I never would have left her side that night. But God knew we needed rest for the day to come.
Sleep in the postpartum room was interrupted frequently, but the sleep I got was deep and like I’d never slept before. A woman came and took blood sometime in the middle of the night to find out if I had low iron or something dumb. I asked her the sense behind taking blood to find out if I had enough blood. Resisted the urge to slap her in the face and went back to sleep. The neonatal nurse came in sometime around 3am and updated us on Violet. Good news first – her oxygen levels had improved enough that they were able to turn the machine down a little. Bad news – she had too much hemoglobin in her blood (surprising, since they were expecting to have to do a blood transfusion) so they were going to remove some of the blood and replace it with saline. She told us that Violet was in the top three sickest babies in the NICU. Then she disappeared something like a dream.